Polk County has been home to Rick since he was a teen. He grew up in rural Wisconsin but his family moved to Florida when he was in high school. That’s where he got the communications bug after taking a course in broadcasting during his junior year.
His first radio job was at WTWB in Auburndale, which aired a full-time Southern Gospel music format. In 1980, he moved to Lakeland’s Christian FM WCIE (as Rick Thomas) and continued there while attending classes at Florida Southern College. He later went on to manage the station from 1992 to 1996.
During his 22 years in radio, Rick also found time to do some part-time work in television. In 1998, he moved into the medium full time and joined Tampa Bay's cable news channel Bay News 9 in its Polk County newsroom.
1980 - 1992 WCIE-FM 91.3 Lakeland (News)
1992 - 1996 WCIE-FM 91.3 Lakeland (Management)